NGS Unveils Data Mart for Distributors

Unlike those of other platforms, AS/400 solutions tend to be either vertical or application-focused. This is particularly the case with data warehouses and data marts, as evidenced by the recent announcement of an AS/400 data mart built exclusively for the distribution industry.

New Generation Software, Inc. (NGS, Sacramento, Calif.) is now shipping a data mart tool specifically designed for the reporting requirements of the distribution industry. The software, called Decision Assist, is in beta, with general availability scheduled for November, according to Mary Lynn Treadwell, marketing communications manager with NGS. Decision Assist extracts data from distribution applications, places the data into a data mart, and presents the data in PC formats. Decision Assist will also be incorporated into NGS' NGS-IQ query tool suite.

NGS-IQ writes the back-end queries over the distribution application. Decision Assist then copies the data, validates it against business rules, ensures integrity and moves it into data marts that reside on the AS/400 in DB2 format. End users can then extract data into spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel or other applications such as Microsoft Access or they can analyze their data using NGS' OLAP product, Qport SmartView.

NGS technology has already been developed for a data mart that interfaces with System 2000, an AS/400 distribution management system from Vormittag Associates Inc. (New York), an NGS business partner. Decision Assist for System 2000 delivers ready-to-run reports and customized multi-dimensional data templates. While NGS is offering the technology for integration with other distribution package vendors, it has no plans at this time to reconfigure the product for other industries, says Treadwell.

NGS also announced a browser-enabled version of its NGS-IQ query tool, scheduled for shipment in the fourth quarter. NGS-IQ queries may be output as HTML text for viewing through popular Web browser software applications. The HTML report may then be saved to a shared folder for authorized user access from a Web browser. The new release of NGS-IQ will also include enhanced OLAP capabilities. The next release, scheduled to ship during the first quarter of 2000, will "include capabilities for viewing and distributing queries via e-mail," says Treadwell.